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Murphy v. Jones

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Batesville Division

January 13, 2015

LISA MURPHY ADC #760343, PLAINTIFF
v.
KRAMER JONES et al., DEFENDANTS

Lisa Murphy, ADC #760343, Plaintiff, Pro se, Newport, AR.

For Kramer Jones, Nurzuhal Faust, Warden, McPherson Unit, originally identified as Faust, Amanda Canter, Correctional Officer, McPherson Unit, originally identified as Canter, Linda Dykes, Captain, McPherson Unit, originally identified as Dykes, Phillip Allen, Sergeant, McPherson Unit, originally identified as Alen, Dylan Tribble, Correctional Officer, McPherson Unit, Dylan Tribble, Correctional Officer, McPherson Unit, Linda Dixon, Major, McPherson Unit, originally identified as Dixon, Christopher Budnick, Warden, McPherson Unit, originally identified as Budnick, Defendants: Christine A. Cryer, LEAD ATTORNEY, Arkansas Attorney General's Office, Catlett-Prien Tower Building, Little Rock, AR.

PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS INSTRUCTIONS

H. DAVID YOUNG, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

The following partial recommended disposition has been sent to Chief United States District Judge Brian S. Miller. Any party may serve and file written objections to this recommendation. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for the objection. If the objection is to a factual finding, specifically identify that finding and the evidence that supports your objection. An original and one copy of your objections must be received in the office of the United States District Court Clerk no later than fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and recommendations. The copy will be furnished to the opposing party. Failure to file timely objections may result in waiver of the right to appeal questions of fact.

If you are objecting to the recommendation and also desire to submit new, different, or additional evidence, and to have a hearing for this purpose before the District Judge, you must, at the same time that you file your written objections, include the following:

1. Why the record made before the Magistrate Judge is inadequate.
2. Why the evidence proffered at the hearing before the District Judge (if such a hearing is granted) was not offered at the hearing before the Magistrate Judge.
3. The detail of any testimony desired to be introduced at the hearing before the District Judge in the form of an offer of proof, and a copy, or the original, of any documentary or other non-testimonial evidence desired to be introduced at the hearing before the District Judge.

From this submission, the District Judge will determine the necessity for an additional evidentiary hearing, either before the Magistrate Judge or before the District Judge.

Mail your objections and " Statement of Necessity" to:

Clerk, United States District Court Eastern District of Arkansas 600 West Capitol Avenue, Suite A149 Little Rock, AR 72201-3325

DISPOSITION

Plaintiff Lisa Murphy filed this pro se complaint on October 9, 2014, alleging that Defendants failed to protect her from an assault by another inmate. On November 5, 2014, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, along with a brief in support (docket entries #14 & #15). Plaintiff filed a response on January 12, 2015 (docket entry #27).

I. Standard of review

FED.R.CIV.P. 8(a)(2) requires only " a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." In Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (overruling Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1967), and setting new standard for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted), the Court stated, " a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment]to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do....Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, " citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-236 (3d ed. 2004). A complaint must contain enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, not merely conceivable. Twombly at 570.

Nevertheless, in Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007), the Supreme Court emphasized that when ruling upon a motion to dismiss in a § 1983 action, a pro se complaint must be liberally construed and held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. However, such liberal pleading standards apply only to a plaintiff's factual allegations. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n. 9, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989).

II. Analysis

Defendants assert that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed because she is suing them in their official capacity only, and such claims are barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Although Plaintiff's complaint does not specifically name Defendants in their personal capacity, her response to Defendants' motion clarifies that her intent is to proceed against Defendants in both their personal and official capacity.

Plaintiff seeks $200, 000.00 in damages. However, the Eleventh Amendment bars any award for damages against Defendants in their official capacity. Nix v. Norman, 879 F.2d 429, 431-32 (8th Cir. 1989). Accordingly, Defendants' motion should be granted only to the extent that Plaintiff's claims for monetary damages against them in their official capacity should be dismissed. The motion should be denied in all other respects.

III. Conclusion

IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED THAT:

1. Defendants' motion to dismiss (docket entry #14) be GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.

2. The motion be GRANTED to the extent that all claims for monetary damages against Defendants in their official capacity be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

3. The motion be DENIED in all other respects.


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